|Elevation Gain||305 ft|
|My Time||50 min|
Hiking the Climax Canyon East Loop
If you find yourself in Raton, New Mexico the Climax Canyon nature trail might be a perfect spot to get a bit of exercise and to enjoy some views. On my trip I hiked the Climax Canyon East Loop and really enjoyed it.
The Climax Canyon Nature Trail is located at the end of Apache Avenue in Raton. In the winter the gate was closed but there was a parking lot at the Lions Club building that had a trail head that led to official trail head.
The nature trail starts together and splits a bit further down the trail. The full loop is another half mile longer than the East Loop. The East Loop cuts down the mountain and makes for about a 2 mile loop.
The East Loop is a really enjoyable hike. Once you clear the road, it heads up a narrow and consistent uphill portion. This takes you up the hill on the eastern side of the park. The incline is consistently between a 4-10% grade. Not terrible but just a slow incline. When you make it to the top of the hill you get some good views of the hills across a small valley.
After about three-quarters of a mile the trail takes a 90 degree turn and heads more into the woods and heads back to the west to continue the loop. The wooded area was really snowy but also very secluded. It was great to get into a bit of deeper woods so close to the town.
Once you make the turn you have about a mile before you reconnect with the East loop portion of the loop or you can extend to do the entire loop. The backside portion and the return to the junction is mostly flat with just a little bit of elevation at the beginning. Then it flattens out and heads back down hill for the last half mile before completing the loop.
The Climax Canyon East Loop isn’t just all about getting a nice workout in. There are also some really nice views of the surrounding Raton area. Along with the internal views of the Climax Canyon. One of the views I really liked was this cone style hill that popped up right in front of me as I was traversing the narrow trail.
There are also plenty of views of the mesas that surround the Raton Area. These were by far my favorite views of the hike. It really showed some great topography of the area. Since I am not from there it really made me appreciate northern New Mexico and Raton!
The views of the surrounding area were the icing on a really enjoyable hike. It didn’t take me very long to complete the hike and was the perfect stop on a road trip to get out of the car and stretch my legs. If I lived closer, I am sure I would be doing this hike quite a bit!
Distance and Elevation of the Climax Canyon East Loop
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 2.1 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 305 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 7,101 feet. I was also moving for a total of 50 minutes.
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Overall Climax Canyon is a tricky hike to figure out. It isn’t too challenging as far as long elevation gains. The trail is narrow in most places and can get a bit rocky so that can cause a bit of a technical challenge. On the day that I hiked, about two-thirds of the trail was covered in snow. Combining the snow with the narrow trail made it a little tricky, especially without traction devices. The trail also starts around 7000 feet of elevation so if you aren’t accustomed to elevation that could be a challenge. I am going to rate this hike as moderate for those reasons.
The trail gets a little narrow on the Climax Canyon East Loop. A lot of the hiking will be single file on the sides of hills or between trees. The sections that were not snow covered were flat dirt and well defined. Occasional rocks and roots to deal with but nothing too challenging from what I saw. I hiked in the winter and snow covered a large section of the trail. I would definitely recommend spikes or traction devices when snow is present.
Access to the Climax Canyon East Loop
The Climax Canyon Nature Trail is located at 1000 Apache Avenue in Raton, New Mexico. Basically just down the road until it dead ends. I went in winter and the road was closed so I parked in the lot for the City Of Bethlehem, presented by the Raton Lions Club. There was a trail entrance next to the Lions Club building that took me to main trailhead.
Wrapping up the Climax Canyon East Loop hike
I really enjoyed the Climax Canyon East Loop. For an in town nature trail it really gets you up into the hills and has some really nice views of Raton and the surrounding mesas. The trail has some elevation gain and can be a good workout but also gets you far enough out into nature that you feel like you are away from town.
I really enjoyed my hike in the Canyon. I was missing some spikes and the snow was deeper than I thought so I didn’t do the whole loop but I really enjoyed the east loop. It was great how it went in and out of the woods and provided big views at times and a secluded quiet at others. Worth a hike if you are around the Raton area.
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